State News

Scott Walker signs bill easing requirements for vocational teachers

Image By: Leah Voskuil and Leah Voskuil

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Tuesday that would remove requirements for hiring vocational teachers, despite arguments by critics that the legislation waters down the quality of teaching.

The legislation, authored by state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and state Rep. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, allows school districts to hire vocational teachers who do not have regular teaching licenses.

The process for getting a teaching license for individuals who have experience in agriculture, marketing, culinary services and other fields would be streamlined under the legislation.

Walker signed the bill at Brown Deer High School outside of Milwaukee. In a statement following the signing, he touted the measure as a way to expand vocational options for students.

“This law will make it easier for school districts to fill much-needed teaching positions … which will assist in allowing school districts to offer courses in vocational areas that may not currently be offered to help Wisconsin students,” Walker said in the release.

Opponents of the bill, including the state Department of Public Instruction and some teachers’ unions, counter that it would lower standards for instructors in those subjects.


“Effective teachers need so much more than skills and knowledge in a subject area,” Wisconsin Education Association Council President Betsy Kippers said in a public hearing on the bill in December. “As an organization of educators we believe there is room for discussion about additional avenues [of licensing teachers], but those avenues must uphold our state’s tradition of high standards.”

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